Focus on Funerals- Nuts and bolts of funeral planning, requirements

Written by Dan Moran. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on September 27, 2017 with No Comments

 My first article for The Chronicle was printed in May of 2010.  It made the comparison between weddings and funerals, from things that had to be arranged to the costs.  The article was set up as bookends on our lives.  Since then, every month I have written human interest stories and informational articles on funeral services and merchandise that supports the type of final goodbye that one desires.

I was recently talking with a friend, who mentioned in passing that my articles were well-written and made a good contribution to The Chronicle, but that I should write more on what can be expected when a person is in need of funerals, and cemeteries, and cremation “stuff.”  This friend recently received bad news on her own health.  She is frightened, sad, and must face her own mortality.

After talking with her, the first thought that came into my mind was how funny it is that we all want to go to heaven but do not want to do what must be done on this plain…we must die.  That is a very “in-your-face” word…die.  Death is powerful and unwelcome, but somewhere we all know that to be born means we will also die.

So, what is needed when the time has come to make final arrangements, whether due to an immediate need situation or pre-need?  First, it is my sincere recommendation that everyone pre-arrange for their cemetery and funeral needs.  This ensures that you will get what you want at a price that you want to pay.

Funeral services take place at the funeral home and cemetery arrangements are done at the cemetery of choice, culminating in the act of committing a loved one to a final resting place.

The components that make up a ground burial are a grave space, an outer container (grave liner or a burial vault), and an opening and closing of the grave.  These are musts.  Optional would be if you wanted to place a memorial marker flush with the ground and/or a monument.  A monument is what you see rising up from the ground in all cemeteries.

Even though people say “cemetery property,” graves are not property in the normal sense of the word.  What a person is buying is the right to bury a person on a particular plot of land called burial rights.  Once paid for and deeded, burial rights are owned by the person shown on the deed.  Note:  when writing a will or arranging for a divorce, make sure you make mention of the cemetery property, including cemetery, section, block, lot and individual grave designations.

At the funeral home, you will decide if you want a traditional funeral service or some other type of arrangement.  A traditional service is the norm in which family and friends come for visitation and viewing on one day and meet again the next day for a final goodbye and a trip to the cemetery for the committal service.  For cremation, one could have the exact same service, followed by a cremation.

Traditional funerals require a casket for both visitation and burial purposes.  Caskets can be made from precious metals such as bronze and copper, to stainless steel (best value) to steel and many choices of wood.  For visitations to be followed by cremation, you may use a rental casket or purchase a casket designed to be used for cremations.

Regardless of the type of casket to be used, you will need to provide information for a death certificate, information for an obituary, make choices for a register book and other paper products, and become educated on the rituals that may be recommended for you to design just how your final goodbye will look. And, you will be given a price and you will have payment options, depending on your particular circumstances and timing.

For those choosing to be buried (interred), placed in a mausoleum crypt (entombed) or to have an urn placed in a niche (inurned), there would be a need to meet at your cemetery of choice to assign a space to be used for the final placement of the deceased.    Most cemeteries require that you come to the cemetery to ensure that the grave you wish to use is legally available to you and that it is the right grave to be opened/closed at the time of need.

For veterans, a military discharge paper is required to receive benefits from both Calumet Park Cemetery and from the government.  It may be a DD214 or whatever official document was used when discharged from the military that shows honorable discharge.

It is very difficult to answer the more commonly heard question of “how much.”  Every circumstance is different.  Every person’s budget is different.  More importantly, every individual or family has a different and unique vision of what they want a funeral to look like…to sound like…and to feel like.  The average investment for one complete funeral and cemetery arrangement for a traditional burial is $12,000-$15,000 per person.

For individualized information and pricing, visit any of our facilities or call Daniel Moran, general manager at 219-769-8803.

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